After introducing my roommates to the cult classic film Practical Magic, I realized that watching feminist witch movies every autumn isn’t a standard tradition for most people. One of the reasons for this is because these movies can be difficult to find! Worry not, for this is the definitive list of the most empowering witch films, specifically ones where the women use magic to save the day!
- Practical Magic (1998)
Starting off with a classic, Practical Magic is a film inspired by the Alice Hoffman novel of the same name. As far as book adaptations go, this one is stellar. The casting is perfect, the soundtrack is invigorating, and the plot is full of twists and turns. One of my favorite aspects of this movie is that each time you watch it you’ll pick up on something new, such as details of a spell. Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman star as sisters who navigate their lives as reluctant and impulsive witches respectively and who are repeatedly vexed by a family curse. While there is plenty of romance, the real love story is between the sisters. Practical Magic is currently available to watch on HBO Max.
2. The Good Witch (2008)
This underrated 2008 film follows the arrival of Cassandra Nightingale to the small town of Middleton, where her mysterious background and charismatic presence shake up the town’s very foundations. While this movie does play with typical Hallmark movie tropes, it doesn’t overdo them. There’s enough original story, beautiful filming locations, and marvelous visual effects to lose yourself in while watching the movie. It’s a calming, wholesome film with follow-up sequels as well. The Good Witch is available to watch on Amazon Prime and Sling TV.
3. Twitches (2005)
Move over Halloweentown fans, this is the superior Disney Channel Halloween franchise! Twin witches that were separated at birth and later save the world together? The sisterly chemistry between Tia and Tamera Mowry really makes this film memorable. Watching this film is truly reliving your childhood and the golden age of Disney Channel original movies as well. Most of the films I rewatch as an adult now seem silly, but this isn’t one of those films. It’s now available to watch on Disney Plus.
4. Maleficent (2014)
While you may not think of Maleficent as a Halloween film, it does feature a spooky atmosphere, haunting music, and one of the most villainous witches of all. Just listen to Lana Del Rey’s eerie rendition of “Once Upon a Dream,” one of the film’s songs, and you will get chills all over. The plot revolves around Maleficent’s tragic backstory, and a close watcher of the film will notice the cinematography gradually growing darker the further Maleficent descents into villainy. If you’re searching for an unconventional spooky film to watch this autumn season, this film has almost a dark, gothic aesthetic and an iconic female villain. Maleficent is now available to watch on Disney Plus.
5. Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989)
I never watched Studio Ghibli movies until I became an adult, and now I understand why they are so popular! This is a perfectly charming Japanese animated film, created by renowned filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki. This is an ideal film to introduce to a younger sibling, but honestly, Miyazaki’s films are fun to watch at any age. While the protagonist, Kiki, is young, she goes through the universal experience of growing up and learning about her identity. It’s important to remember that movies like this, with younger protagonists, inspire the next generation of feminists. So even though this film is targeted towards a younger audience, its themes and messages are just as meaningful as any other movie with strong female heroines. Kiki’s Delivery Service is currently available to watch on HBO Max.
6. Beautiful Creatures (2013)
Is this movie overdramatic and slightly childish? Yes. Is the romance a little heavy-handed? Definitely. Is this movie an underrated example of witches using powerful spells and saving the day? Absolutely! I read the book and watched the film, and I understand people’s complaints about Beautiful Creatures. However, it’s an atmospheric, gorgeous, and entertaining film to watch during the autumn season. The film’s plot revolves around a teenage witch falling in love with a mortal boy at her high school. However, she doesn’t know if she’s going to grow up to be an evil witch or a good witch. The character accents are overdone and the plot is fairly simple, but the filming locations and instrumental music are breathtaking. Honestly, people don’t talk enough about how powerful the female spellcasters are in this film! Plus, the visual and digital magic effects are extremely well done. Beautiful Creatures is available to rent on almost all streaming services for $3.99.